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< Back to question How do we think about taking down controversial statues in the UK? Show more Show less

In June 2020 protestors circulated a hit list of controversial UK statues to be taken down. These included Gandhi, Winston Churchill and Robert Baden-Powell. Campaigners say these statues must be ripped down because they contribute to racialised systemic violence. In turn, this trickles down into every facet of public life and subordinates ethnic minorities. On the other side, groups made up of mostly far right activists say this is deeply offensive. They see this lobby as a violent mob that have been undeservedly handed a mandate to whitewash UK history. So, who are these groups, what do they think, and why?

How dare they tear down our statues Show more Show less

This group sees the anti-statue activists as lawless mob. Proponents include the EDL, All Lives Matter activists, and the alt-right press.
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All lives matter, so tearing down controversial statues in the UK is wrong

Black lives do not have a greater value. Taking down statues is a racist attack on the UK's white communities.
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The Argument

The current socio-political landscape concerning police brutality and institutional racism has led to many Black Lives Matter protests across the U.K. There were also All Lives Matter marches taking place to protect revered symbols of British history that had been erected by local governments. There have been cases, such as in Bristol, where Black Lives Matter protesters have unlawfully removed statues of prominent British figures to show disdain for the role they played in facilitating and profiting off slavery and other human rights violations. Certain members of society, who refrain from labeling themselves as the far-right, viewed the removal of the statues, and the Black Lives Matter movement, as an attack on white British heritage. [1] What underpins this argument is the belief that focusing on the importance of Black lives overlooks the experiences of other races. While the statues may be interpreted as an attack on Black lives, given that they are figurative of Britain’s colonial past, the monuments simultaneously represent British history and success. Removing the statues can be likened to neglecting the lives of Britons. That said, British people mustn't feel ostracized when celebrating the very land in which they were born in its entirety.

Counter arguments

To say that Black Lives Matter is not to say that all non-Black lives do not matter. The crucial idea here is that the movement sheds light on the racism that Black people experience in virtue of being Black, which has endangered many people on a global scale. [2] Removing statues reflects an important part of the current protests, which is acknowledging how the legacy of the British empire has contributed to inequality within our actual society. Thus, the removal of the statues is an attack on inequality, racism, and essentially the beliefs of the British empire, such as Black people being a lesser kind of human being. An ‘All Lives Matter’ approach to the Black Lives Matter movement diminishes the harsh reality that the anti-racism movement seeks to communicate.


Rejecting the premises



This page was last edited on Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 09:14 UTC

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